Spine cancer treatment sometimes involves surgery to remove the cancerous tumour in the spinal canal. This procedure is used to diagnose stage and treat cancer, and to manage certain cancer-related symptoms. A small number of spinal tumours occur in the nerves of the spinal cord itself. Tumours that start in spinal tissue are called primary spinal tumours. Tumours that spread to the spine from some other place (metastasis) are called secondary spinal tumours. The cause of primary spinal tumours is unknown. The decision to perform spinal cancer surgeries is based on various factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumour, general health of the patient, age, physical fitness and other coexisting medical conditions. This surgery is in combination with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy as the case may be. When the tumour is limited only to one portion of the spinal column, a surgery is performed to completely remove the cancer. Minimal surgeries are performed in metastatic cancers (wide spread cancer) to relieve symptoms such as removal of accumulated cerebrospinal fluid due to the presence of tumour.
Spinal cancer treatment involves surgery. The surgical strategies are similar to that of for brain tumours. The goal of spinal cancer surgery depends on several factors, including the location and grade of the tumour, and the symptoms present. When the tumour is limited only to one portion of the spinal column completely remove of the cancerours tumour is opted for. For metastatic spinal tumours, minimum surgery necessary to relieve symptoms is required.
The treatment for the removal of the tumour is a laminectomy (removal of the bone). It also involves a radical or gross total resection of the tumour. Biopsy of these tumors is could also be performed if the differential diagnosis is yet to be determined and confirmation is required. Spine cancer surgeries are performed by onco-spine specialists. The general steps include the retraction of the tumour. The surgical approach is based on location of the tumour. The procedure is conducted under the radio-imaging techniques. The surgeon carries out the laminectomy wherein then part of lamina bone is reached with the help of radio-imaging techniques with minimal incision. The tumour is retracted and removed. The surrounding healthy tissues are also scrapped and removed. The patient may receive radiation or chemotherapy or combination before surgery to shirk the tumour so that it can be easily removed.
The minimal invasive techniques helps patient to recover faster and return to normal activities and are safe. The retraction of the complete tumours can be achieved.
Like any other surgery, the patient must be stable in all other physiological parameters. The concomitant diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension must be under control. The patient must inform in advance for any allergies, past medical history, details of consumption of prescription and non-prescription medicines to the doctor. Consumption of Alcohol and nicotine is prohibited. Their consumption must be stopped before and after surgery including the recovery phase. Post-surgery, all the necessary advice in terms of medicine, diet, physical exercise must be followed .including follow up radiation, chemotherapy or both. Pain, bleeding, swelling are expected after the surgery.
Do all spine cancers need surgery?
NO; the initial treatment is always chemotherapy and radiation.
Is there a blood loss in spinal surgeries?
The spine cancer surgeries are performed with a lot of technological advancements; the minimal invasion at targeted sites reduces any blood loss and patient requires minimal recovery period.
How often the patient needs to follow up with the doctor?
Cancer therapies are of long duration and once recovered periodic follow up is necessary. The treating doctor will decide the frequency of clinical examinations and treatment schedule. It is recommended that the patient follows the schedules implicitly.
Will I be able to live a normal life after Spinal cord tumor?
There is possibility that the functional abilities usually return to near-normal few months after the surgery. Patients can have cancer-free long years with the help of regular follow up and medications as may be required.
Is there pain, before and after surgery?
Yes the pain exists before the surgery due to the pressure on the nerves by the cancerous growth. Following surgery symptoms of pain are reduced considerably. few patients may develop new numbness or tingling pain which was absent before surgery. This subsides after several months and may require medicines for its relief.
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